Court order sought for Bantry Bay salmon farm escape
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) requested an Irish High Court ruling on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney’s refusal to release an accident report on the escape of 230,000 salmon in Bantry Bay last February.
If granted, Peter Tyndall, Information Commissioner, will be required to hear an appeal on Coveney’s refusal. This is also known as an “order of Mandamus.”
Alex O’Donovan, Secretary of Save Bantry Bay (SBB) said after the official count on 19 February, the farm had been “virtually wiped out.” However, Coveney hasn’t released the report, citing it was an internal communicative document and public interest wouldn’t be served by the disclosure.
FIE appealed this refusal to the Information Commissioner, but Tyndall has yet to offer the group a date by which we will make his decision. FIE Director Tony Lowes said the recently released 2013 Annual Report of the information commission showed there had been no improvement in the delays the group has experienced with its appeals.
According to Lowes, FIE considers the matter urgent, due in part to a previous report that cites a similar incident in 2010. This report was released to FIE last year without delay and showed the minister was indeed at fault for not requiring the necessary inspections of equipment.
The case is set to be heard before the High Court on January 20, 2015.